5 Tips for House Hunting if You Plan to Age in Place
Whether you’re a new empty-nester looking to downsize or a retiree looking for a second home, planning ahead and looking for features conducive to aging in place can save you money and hassle down the road.
If you plan to age in place in your next home, keep these 5 house-hunting tips in mind when shopping.
#1 – Check out Active Adult Communities
Today’s retiring baby boomers are more active and discerning than any generation before them. As a result, forward-thinking homebuilders have made the move from developing sleepy retirement neighborhoods to active adult communities that offer residents endless opportunities to get moving, get involved, and enjoy their golden years in style. Active adult communities often feature golf courses, tennis, swimming, walking and other outdoor activities, as well as a clubhouse, community center with classes, clubs and events, and sometimes multiple restaurants, making them truly all-inclusive communities.
#2 – Look for Universal Design
Many of today’s new homes are built using universal design principles, meaning people of any age can safely live in them. The appeal of universal design is that it incorporates accessibility features – such as wider doors and hallways and non-slip, walk-in showers – in a stylish way that doesn’t look like the home has been modified. Other elements of universal design include shower benches and pull bars, waist level faucet controls, rocker light switches, multi-level kitchen and bath countertops, lever style door handles, and technology that automates home systems using easy-to-use remotes.
#3 – Go Stair-less
While it might seem obvious to look for a ranch with no inside stairs, the home’s entryway and any decks should be considered too. Adding ramps and lifts outside are an easy enough modification to make down the road, but they can be an eyesore and your options may be limited if you live in an HOA neighborhood. A level entryway, single floor home, and flat patio ensures easy maneuverability through all stages of life (perfect for those tottering grandbabies!). At the very least, look for a home with a first floor master bedroom and en suite bath in a neighborhood where modifications won’t be a hassle.
#4 – Know What’s Nearby
While a quiet bungalow off the beaten path may sound like an appealing place to retire, you’re probably going to want conveniences and necessities close to home as getting around becomes more cumbersome. Grocery stores, gas stations and medical facilities are essential, but it might also be important for you to be close to libraries, community centers, churches, and other facilities.
#5 – Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent
Where some agents specialize in helping young families find kid-friendly homes, others have found a niche helping retirees find homes where they can comfortably age in place. These agents are familiar with the local active adult communities and with the local builders that specialize in universal design and who incorporate accessibility features into new construction homes. Lastly, an experienced agent can refer you to a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) that can help you make modifications to a home you fall in love but that doesn’t quite have the accessibility features you need.
The Link Team Knows Where You can Age in Place in Southwest Florida
Because sunny Southwest Florida is a favorite among retirees, there is no shortage of active adult communities and universal design homes here. If you’re looking for a new forever home, contact Nina Link to get your search started. We’ll help you find a home with all the features you need to safely, comfortably – and stylishly – age in place.